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Mini-Market Offers Glimpse Into October

Michelle SanFilippo -- Home Textiles Today, July 25, 2005

New York — Importers and manufacturers will open during the informal Mini-Market to unveil new products and offer a glimpse into what's in store for October.

This looks to be the last summer Mini-Market as the Home Fashions Product Association has shifted market dates to reflect those of Mini-Market, starting August 2006.

One of the people responsible for the decision, Frank Foley, president of the HFPA and head of CHF Industries, remarked, “We are participating in Mini-Market but don't typically set up the showroom. We will be working with customer-specific accounts, showing them products in development as well as trend boards on previews for fall.”

He added that CHF usually meets with most of its accounts between July 15 and Aug. 15.

“I think the marketplace is looking very fragmented at this point and don't think the August Mini-Market will be as big as February,” Foley said. However, some will use Mini-Market as a time to show off new licenses or delve into additional product categories.

Revman International will unveil its new surfer license by a California champion in bedding and bath, as well as show newness in Laura Ashley Home; Laura Ashley Children's Rooms, a revamped juvenile collection; Nicole Miller; and Echo.

Laura Ashley Home will feature three updated classic beds and a freestanding bath look. Laura Ashley Children's Rooms will display four to five juvenile beds with piecing and appliqué elements plus novelty pillows. Echo will show five beds in multiple colorways and five contemporary quilted coverlets in a collection that emphasizes color and pattern.

Diane Piemonte, Revman's vice president of creative services, described next week's event as an opportunity to introduce new product at a time when retailers are shopping, as well as a time to plan product development.

“It becomes an important time to nail down commitments in response to longer lead times, instead of waiting until October,” she said.

According to Nelson Chow, vice president of sales for C&F Enterprises, a lot of his appointments are previews for October. “It's basically a first crack at what retailers will be seeing in our showroom at the fall market,” he said.

Some of C&F's newness includes extending into oven mitts and pot holders this season with half a dozen prints as well as six to eight heavier kitchen towel designs. There will also be about the same number of new print placemat, runner and napkin designs.

These expanded kitchen accessories also feature coordinated aprons in two fabrications. There are a dozen quilted aprons as well as a dozen embroidered and appliquéd canvas aprons featuring whimsical sayings that retail for $14.99 to $19.99.

C&F Enterprises is also introducing a new line of quilts that range from $39.99 (six designs) to up to 10 more intricately stitched $99.99 patterns. Two new Colonial Williamsburg all-over toile beds will also be on display featuring outline stitching to pucker the designs; eight to 12 coordinating hand-hooked rugs will also debut.

Sure Fit will feature six new designs in its patented Stretch slipcovers in print jersey knits and textured fabrics and a dozen-plus patented Separate Seat designs in a wide variety of fabrications. Its 3M Scotch Guard protection is also available on any of these offerings.

The company continues to emphasize “fit, function and fashion” in its furniture covers and provide retailers with a coordinated look complete with decorative accessories. Dan Cacella, Sure Fit's senior vice president of sales, said the company will changeover about three quarters of the showroom.

“Next week's Mini-Market is shaping up for putting the finishing touches on spring '06 with a little bit of focus on fourth quarter,” he added.

Creative Home Furnishings will be showing parts of its new Dakotah-branded collections as finished product and others on concept boards.

Its new themes for decorative pillows and bedding include Coastal, featuring shells, coral and flip flops; Bohemian; Country Chic with a combination of constructions and patterns; and Global Influence with block prints and natural fibers. In its core pillow programs, Creative Home Furnishings will add four to six summer colors to its Green Tea tweeds and Pebble Cloth group.

In licenses, the company will not go forward with Joseph Abboud dec pillows beyond last season. “It's a customer-specific look and price point that was limited for our class of trade,” explained Toby Weinstein, vice president of sales and marketing for Creative Home Furnishings, which held the Abboud dec pillow license for three years.

In Echo, the company will be previewing four dec pillow collections: A Flutter, a butterfly group featuring rich colors in silk; a Pop Art group offering stencils and geometrics; a Global more natural group with crocheted effects and textured fabric; and a Bohemian group with mirrored discs, metallic treatments and shiny fabrics.

Dale Talbert, vice president of Veratex, added that next week's Mini-Market marks the first time the company will be at its new 261 Fifth Ave. showroom. “We want to make a big splash,” said Talbert. “We'll be showing 15 brand-new beds, all in a new palette that is seasonably appropriate, and we'll be previewing some bath.”

According to Vivie von Walstrom, director of design and marketing at Venus Home, she will be showing three new solid towels, including piece-dyed and yarn-dyed jacquards from its factory. Venus will also show Supima sheets at different price levels, knit sheets and printed sheets in 200-, 250- and 400-counts. New beach towels will also be previewed.

Arlee Home Fashions will add two product categories — pet beds and outdoor furniture cushions and pads — per CEO Bud Frankel. It is also showing window, dec pillows and throws for spring/summer '06, and dec pillows and throws for back-to-school '06.

Dan Harris, vice president of marketing and product development at Revere Mills, said his firm is showing mainly bath with some kitchen textiles, as well as spring and back-to-school '06. Avanti Linens will show some new product for late fall delivery and will preview product for spring '06.

Corey Faul, president of Newport/Layton Home, commented, “We are prepared to preview product in all of our categories (bedding, dec pillows, bath coordinates, table linens, throws and window treatments). We have some appointments coming in to preview fall '06 products, too.”

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